It's never too late

Last-minute shopping ideas for the time-management impaired

My dad was a fan of last-minute shopping. As in: he'd go to the mall on Christmas Eve an hour before closing and park in the red zone. Though it drove my mom crazy, it seemed to work for dad — thanks in equal parts to his ability to manage anxiety (he didn't seem to have any) and the one-stop-shop-iness of the mall experience.

But what if you've slacked on your shopping this year and you want to shop locally? Whether your idea of "last-minute" is a week before Santa comes or Christmas morning before the kids wake up, here are some shopping ideas that'll help make your last-minute mad dash less, well, maddening.


Delisa Sage is as much curator as owner of this charming Potrero Hill shop, which features a mix of vintage and locally-made items with a focus on female designers and hand-made objects. From clocks to cameras and jewelry to housewares, you just might find something for everyone here.

1345 18th, SF. (415) 282-4401,


These sister stores are an ideal stop when shopping for kids and their parents. Owner Elizabeth Leu carefully chooses toys, clothing, stationery, and books that are stylish, environmentally friendly, and often made by local designers. Both stores have extended holiday hours, and if you sign up for the mailing list, you'll get a coupon for 20 percent off.

540 and 508 Hayes, SF. (415) 565-0508, and


Focusing on unusual styles from small-production shoe companies, Delirious is an ideal stop for your shoe-loving friends and family. Plus, owner Amy Boe has stocked up on socks, tights, bags, and slippers for holiday gifts and stocking stuffers.

317 Connecticut, SF. (415) 641-4086,


Come for eco-consciousness, stay for style and selection. Spring always has a variety of gorgeously designed tableware, candles, bath and body products, linens, and often children's dolls, all sustainable and non-toxic. Think hippie values with Dwell aesthetics.

2162 Polk, SF. (415) 673-2065,


If there are any holes in your gift list, you can surely fill 'em here. Cards, hats, gloves, jewelry, tchotchkes, home décor, joke gifts ... you name it, Therapy carries it — and the Mission District favorite is open Christmas Eve.

541 Valencia, SF. (415) 621-5902,


Fun, funky, and oh-so-cute, this tiny store is chock-full of winsome delights, from wooden mustaches to Russian doll–style stackable bowls. Though usually closed on Mondays, they'll stay open Dec. 23 for last-minute shoppers.

855 Valencia, SF. (415) 671-5384,


An easy hop, skip, and a jaywalk across from Curiosity Shoppe is this weird and wacky favorite where rare stones and plants are as easy to find as taxidermied animals. Plus, they're open Christmas Eve!

824 Valencia, SF. (415) 824-1872,


Sure, beer is a niche gift. But there's no better place to find a unique, imported, hard-to-find brew than this delightful basement shop. Plus, you can drink while you shop.

1168 Folsom, SF.

Also from this author

  • Music mitzvah

    Jewish Music Festival turns 25 with a crosscultural lineup

  • Our weekly picks

  • Stage listings